Biog + CV

KAREN STEWART studied Fine Arts at Wits University and Graphic Design at the Johannesburg Art Foundation in the late 80s. In 2007 she completed her Masters in Illustration at Stellenbosch University, specialising in botanical art. Since 1997 she has participated in several group and solo exhibitions. The enduring theme of her work is how people are affected by politics, their personal circumstances and the changing environment. Her current work in paper collage seeks to help the viewer find a quiet, contemplative place in our chaotic world, instilling a sense of hope and optimism.

She is currently curating a botanical art exhibition at Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens to he held in April 2023 for the Botanical Art Association of Southern Africa. In 2008 she curated the Kirstenbosch Botanical Art Biennale. The following year she was commissioned by Tokara Wine Estate to add to its botanical collection.

In 2013 Karen founded the Ah HA Company, which facilitated design thinking processes to unlock creative solutions to challenges.  She is also the founder of Bright Sparks Creative Play, a non-profit company dedicated to bettering creative and entrepreneurial skills of teachers and children in underprivileged Early Childhood preschools.

Her art has been exhibited in Johannesburg, Cape Town, Helsinki and Lagos her work is in the prestigious Brenthurst Library and University of Stellenbosch’s Africana Library and key corporate collections. “Fly-overs and Drive-bys” was placed at Angels and Muse a space curated by Victor Ehikamenor in Lagos.

Portrait shot by Yasser Booley

21 Oct 2020 | Art is Where the Home is, Zeitz Mocaa, Cape Town
April 2020 | Works on Paper X1, Kalk Bay Modern, Cape Town
26 Oct–30 Nov 2019 | How to Build a Lagoon with Just a Bottle of Wine? Lagos Biennial 2, Àkéte Art Foundation, Lagos, Nigeria
7–22 August 2019 | #ArtLadies, Berman Contemporary, Rand Steam, Johannesburg
7–11 August 2019 | Big in Japan, Candice Berman Gallery at 100% Design, Johannesburg
12–14 July 2019 | The Anxiolytic Effect, RMB Turbine Art Fair, Illovo, Johannesburg
24–28 May 2019 | The Anxiolytic Effect, Solo Show, Candice Berman Gallery, Design Joburg, Sandton Convention Centre, Johannesburg
April 2019 | New Blood, Art@first Association, First Rand Bank, Sandton
April 2019 | Works on Paper X, Kalk Bay Modern, Cape Town
Oct 2018 | The Weather Girls, Dorp Street Gallery, Stellenbosch
Oct 2017 | Streets Ahead, Art and Design Centre, Cape Town
Oct–Nov 2007 | Greenhouse – from Painting to Plastic, Bell-Roberts Gallery, Stellenbosch
Feb–March 2007 | Opening the Curiosity Box, National Library of South Africa, Cape Town
Jan 2007 | Small Spaces, Big Places, US Gallery, Stellenbosch
Nov 2006 | The Collage Show, What if the World Gallery, Cape Town
Nov 2004 | Far and Wide, Absa Gallery, Johannesburg
April–May 2004 | For the record/Off the record, Thomson Gallery, Johannesburg
2003 Feb | YDEsire 4th Softserve Party, Castle of Good Hope, Cape Town
2001 Dec | South Africa Today, Helsinki Convention Centre, Finland
May 1997 | Volkskas Atelier Awards Exhibition, Bloemfontein (Honorable Mention)
April 1997 | EurovirusB4/97, Carfax Gallery, Johannesburg

Brenthurst Library collection | Curiositii Book         
University of Stellenbosch Africana collection | Curiositii Book         
Tokara Wine Estate’s Art Collection | Two botanical paintings
Jeremy Stubbs Foundation – Prince’s Grant Collection | Watercolour botanical painting  
Her current work is housed in several prestigious private art collections around South Africa

Stewart, K. (2020) “Bright Sparks/Ilukuluku Outreach Project“ Interview by Simphiwe Ncongwana. SABC Morning Live. 16 Aug Available at: 17 Nov 2020)
Wallis, H. (2020) “Cape Flat School Gets an Extreme Makeover during Lockdown” (2020) Creative Feel magazine [online] Available at: (accessed 17 Nov 2020)
Stewart, K. and Suter, E. (2019) “How to Build a Lagoon with Just a Bottle of Wine?” Habitat magazine [online] Available at: 17 Nov 2020)
Afinotan, R. (2020) “Lagos Biennial” VISI magazine, p172-173
Stewart, K. (2019) “Street Life, Global Warming and the Weather Girls” Creative Feel magazine, p46-47.
Stewart, K. (2019) “Gallery Feature Karen Stewart” Habitat magazine 273(Sept/Oct), p44-46  
Stewart, K. (2013) “Ah HA Company using creativity to unlock potential” interview by Shado Twala SAFM. Date unrecorded
Stewart, K. (2013) “Design: Not for young people?” Open Design Festival Live Creative Session panel discussion for the British Council and Live SA. Aug 2013
Stewart, K. (2013) “Boxcutter facilitator’s manual” interview by Nancy Richards. SAFM. Date not recorded
Stewart, K. (2013) “Boxcutter: a practical guide for the facilitator who wants to bring out the creativity in everyone, but especially those that make things by hand” Cape Town: Craft & Design Institute (CDI).
Author unknown. (2010) “A Little Cookie Time” Design Indaba magazine [online] Available at: (Accessed 17 Nov 2020)
Stewart, K. (2008) “Brush up on Botanical Art”, Veld and Flora Vol. 94(3), p32-35
Stewart, K. (2007) “Opening the Curiosity Box” interview by John Richards. SAFM. Date not recorded
Stewart, K. (2007) “Opening the Curiosity Box” interview by Vuyo Mbuli. SABC 3 Morning Show. Date unrecorded
Yeld, J. (2007) “Curiosity Collection asks Thorny Questions”, Cape Argus, Fri 9 Feb, p14
Minaar, M. “Indeed a Curious Balance between Nature and Art”, Cape Times, Mon 26 Feb, p13
Dugmore, H. (2007) “Not quite Homo sapiens, not yet”, The Sunday Independent, 27 May, p6